Friday, April 3, 2020

These Richmond area restaurants are offering to-go food during Covid-19

From gelato to gyros

Posted By on Fri, Apr 3, 2020 at 4:29 PM

It’s the beginning of a new month (somehow) and while the state is on lockdown, restaurants are deemed essential services and there are innumerable options out there offering takeaway and delivery.

Here, you’ll find plenty of American, Italian, and Mexican options, plus Indian, Chinese, fusion and European-inspired cuisine. Cuisine categories and restaurants are ordered alphabetically, with links directing you to the fastest ordering system.

Many places are starting to offer delivery through their own online services or through a third party delivery system (Uber Eats, Door Dash etc.) but some places are still only doing takeout via phone calls. We’re also trying to highlight daily and weekly specials that the restaurants are offering, from deals to guest chefs. Check it out:

This list is being updated. See something missing? Email maryscotthfletcher@gmail.com.


City Dogs
1316 E Cary St.

1309 W Main St.
The Diner at Hull and Genito
11306 Hull Street Road, Midlothian
The Grill at Libbie and Patterson
5724 Patterson Ave.
Highlights: A curbside tent
2527 W Main St.
Hill Cafe
2800 E Broad St.
6010 Hermitage Road
Hot Chick
7 N 17th St.
Joey’s Hot Dogs
4028 Cox Road, Glen Allen
2614 W Cary St.
Laura Lee’s
3410 Semmes Ave.
Liberty Public House
418A N 25th St.
404 N 2nd St.
McCormack’s Whisky Grill
204 N Robinson St.
The Pickle Barrel
12912 Plaza Drive
Rock Falls Tavern
2813 Hathaway Road
Salt & Forge
312 N 2nd St.
Highlights: Dining without the Restaurant
Savory Grain
2043 W Broad St.
Sedona Taphouse
5312 Wyndham Forest Drive Glen Allen
Shore Dog Cafe
435 B North Ridge Road, Henrico
The Tavern
7110 Patterson Ave.
Weezie’s Kitchen
3123 W Cary St.


Baked RVA
601 North 10th Street, Corner of 10th & Leigh; in front of MCV Bookstore
Carytown Cupcakes
3111 W Cary St.
1903 W Cary St.
Sugar & Salt
416 N 2nd Str.
Sub Rosa
620 N 25th St.
2100 E Main St.
Highlights: Easter-themed cakes


Buz and Ned’s
8205 W Broad St.
1119 N Arthur Ashe Blvd.
Deep Run Roadhouse
12379 Gayton Road
309 N Laurel St.
Oak and Apple
1814 E Main St.
The Pitts
2220 Broad Rock Blvd.
Q Barbeque
1070 Virginia Center Pkwy Glen Allen
13800 Fribble Way Midlothian


The Answer
6008 W Broad St.
Bingo Brewery
2900 W Broad St.
Final Gravity
6118 Lakeside Ave.
Legend Brewing
321 W 7th St.
Starr Hill
3406 W Leigh St.


Brook’s Diner
1600 Brook Road
Coco + Hazel
411 North Ridge Road
The Diner
11306 Hull St. Road Midlothian
Fancy Biscuit
1831 W Cary St.
First Watch
Multiple Locations
3205 W Broad St.
Nate’s Bagels
21 S Allen Ave.
River City Diner
11430 W Huguenot Road Midlothian
803 E Parham Road
Rise and Shine Diner
10372 Leadbetter Road, Ashland
Rise Biscuits
11561 W Broad St.


Beauvine Burger
1501 W Main St.
Boulevard Burger
1300 N Arthur Ashe Blvd.
Burger Bach
101 Heaths Way Road Midlothian
2225 Old Brick Road Glen Allen
Highlights: 50% Off all wine bottles; free Burger Bach growler (while supplies last) and 20% off all beer fills
Carytown Burgers and Fries
3449 W Cary St.
5404 Lakeside Ave. Henrico
Jack Brown’s
5810 Grove Ave.
Station 2
2016 E Main St.


Bamboo Cafe
1 S Mulberry St.
Boychik’s Deli
4024 Cox Road Glen Allen
Branch and Vine
2001 ½ W Main St.
Cafe Zata
700 Bainbridge St.
Cask Cafe
206 S Robinson St.
Coppola’s Deli
2900 W Cary
Curbside Cafe
2525 Hanover Ave.
Cuisine a la Carte
5606 Patterson Ave.
Garnett’s Cafe
2001 Park Ave.
Great Harvest Bread Co.
13541 Midlothian Turnpike, Midlothian
Izzy’s Kitchen
2901 Park Ave.
2012 Staples Mill Road
Mojo’s Philadeli
733 W Cary St.
Philly Steak and Gyro
3443 W Cary St.
SB’s Lakeside Love Shack
6935 Lakeside Ave.
Wooden Spoon Cafe
5714 Patterson Ave.


Charles’ Kitchen
9127-C W Broad


Beijing on Grove
5710 Grove Ave.
Fat Dragon
1200 N Arthur Ashe Blvd.
Fresh Wok
5146 Nine Mile Road
Peter Chang
11424 W Broad St.
Tiki Tiki
8917 Patterson Ave.


Black Hand Coffee
3101 Patterson Ave.
Blanchard’s Cafe
3121 W Broad St.
1805 E Grace St.
Little Bean Coffee Co.
1732 Mechanicsville Turnpike
2620 Buford Road Bon Air
Pulp Fiction
5411 Lakeside Ave.
Riverbend Coffee
2623 E Broad St.
Highlights: Discounted coffee beans
1618 W Main St.


Brenner Pass/Chairlift
3200 Rockbridge St. Suite 100
Highlights: Chairlift coffee & pastry drive-thru Sat. April 4 Cafe Rustika
414 E Main St.
European Taste
10604 Patterson Ave.


Chez Max
10622 Patterson Ave.

Fusion + Eclectic

Boka Tako
2557 Sheila Lane
Chicken Fiesta
Multiple Locations
Foo Dog
1537 W Main St.
Noodles & Company
Highlights: For every family meal package purchased, Noodles will donate a regular-sized bowl back to healthcare workers
814 W Grace St.
1601 Willow Lawn Drive
Palani Drive
401 Libbie Ave.
2918 W Broad St.
Highlights: Live streaming dinners and Instagram chef demos
23 W Marshall St.
Highlights: Smash burger pop-up Sat. April 4
Sen Organic
2901 W Cary St.
Soul Taco
321 N 2nd St.
1215 E Main St.
Highlights: Taco kits
Wild Ginger
412 E Grace St. (pickup from Wong Gonzalez)
YaYas Cookbook
11674 W Broad St.


Bell Greek
11360 Iron Bridge Road Chester
11307 Polo Place Midlothian
Carytown Gyro
3459 W Cary St.
Greek on Cary
3107 W Cary St.
1012 Lafayette St.
Sticks Kebob
1700 Willow Lawn Drive


The Daily Kitchen and Bar
2934 W Cary St.
12201 W Broad St. Henrico
Organic Krush
3406 Pump Road Short Pump
Pit and the Peel
1051 E Cary St.
Phoenix Garden
7103 Brook Road
939 W Grace St.

Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt

Gelati Celesti
Multiple locations
Jiji Frozen Custard


Anant Cuisine of India
4348 Pouncey Tract Road Glen Allen
11800 W Broad St.
India K’ Raja
9051 W Broad St. Henrico
15 W Broad
14862 Hull St. Chesterfield


4800 Forest Hill
1319 Midlothian Turnpike

1327 E. Cary St.


Amici de Enzo
36 Broadstreet Road Manakin-Sabot
6221 River Road
9127 W Broad St.
Casa Italiana
8801 Three Chopt Road
Ciao Capri
10478 Ridgefield Pkwy. Henrico
Enoteca Sogna
1223 Bellevue Ave.
3054 Stony Point Road
9010 Staples Mill Road
805 N Davis Ave.
La Cucina
11400 W Huguenot Road Midlothian
Leonardo’s Pizza and Pasta
10833 W Broad St. Glen Allen
4811 Forest Hill Ave.
Mama Cucina
4028-O Cox Road, Glen Allen
Piccola Italy
1100 W Main St.
12506 River Road

Japanese + Sushi

Fighting Fish
912 N Arthur Ashe
Miyabi Sushi
1712 E Main St.
5023 Huguenot Road
Sumo San
1725 E Main St.
Highlights: Health care professionals and first responders get free miso
Sticky Rice
2232 W Main St.
Tokyo Sushi
10274 Staples Mill Road

Latin American

La Bodega
104 N 18th St.


Natalie’s Taste of Lebanon
3601 Cox Road Suite A


6400 Midlothian Turnpike
Ay Caramba
204 E Grace St.
Casa Del Barco
320 S 12 St.
El Cerro Azul
2650 Anderson Hwy. Powhatan
13561 Midlothian Turnpike, Midlothian
En Su Boca
1001 N Blvd.
La Milpa
6925 Hull St. Road
Margarita’s Cantina
101-107 N 18th St.
Nuevo Mexico
3088 Stony Point Road
9550 Midlothian Turnpike
Wong Gonzalez
412 E Grace St.
Wong’s Tacos
201 A Maltby Blvd. Henrico

Modern American

4900 Libbie Mill E Blvd.
Dutch & Company
400 N 27th St.
Franklin Inn
800 N Cleveland St.
Galley Market
2805 Hathaway Road
3119 E Marshall St.
Highlights: Tamale Time Fri. April 3 with chef Zach Garza Mosaic Catering
3001 Cutshaw Ave.
Highlights: $60 family meal
Mosaic Restaurant
6229-A River Road
2132 W Main St. Highlights: 25% off wine
The Roosevelt
623 N 25th St.
1323 W Main St.
Social 52
2619 W Main St.
The Stables
201 N Belmont Ave.
3036 Stony Point
Tazza Kitchen
Multiple Locations
7007 Three Chopt Road
3730 Winterfield Place Midlothian


Assante's Pizza
1845 W Broad St.
Benny Ventano’s
2501 W Main St.
Belmont Pizzeria
602 N Belmont Ave.
Billy Pie
6919 Patterson Ave.
Bottom’s Up Pizza
1700 Dock St.
Brooklyn Pizza Authority
10613 Hull Street Road Midlothian
Extreme Pizza
11653 W Broad St. Henrico
Hop Craft
1600 W Cary St.
Jo-Jo’s Famous PIzza
1201 E Main St.
La Vera Pizzeria
214 Hull St.
7320 Hancock Village Drive Chesterfield
Mary Angela’s
3345 W Cary St.
Pizza and Beer
2553 W Cary St.
1 N Morris St.
10921 W Broad Glen Allen
Superstars Pizza
5700 Patterson Ave.

Pub Fare

The Camel
1621 W Broad St.
Cobra Cabana
901 W Marshall St.
Home Team Grill
1630 W Main St.
Hurleys Tavern
4028 Cox Road Suite J Glen Allen
The Local Eatery and Pub
1106 W Main St.
Uptown Alley
6101 Brad McNeer Pkwy. Midlothian


Ale Wife
3120 E Marshall St.
Highlights: Neighborhood doorstep delivery
Conch Republic
11 Orleans St.
Halterman’s Eatery
109 Commons Park Circle Suite A, Manquin
Latitude Seafood Co.
9216 Stony Point Pkwy
15532 WC Commons Way
320 E Grace St.
SaltBox Oyster Company
1601 Willow Lawn
Highlights: Friday fish fry, Saturday oyster roast
Sam Miller’s
1210 E Cary St.
Stuart’s Fresh Catch
2400 Mechanicsville Turnpike

Soul Food

Ms. Girlee’s Kitchen
4809 Parker St.
17 W Brookland Park Blvd.


420 E Grace St.
Lunch | Supper
1215 Summit Ave.
Maple Bourbon
1116 E Main St.
4901 Libbe Mill E Blvd.


Buckhead’s Chophouse
8510 Patterson Ave.


Bangkok Thai
11 W Hundred Road Chester
Mom’s Siam
2811 W Cary St.
My Noodle & Bar
1600 Monument Ave.
2727 W Broad St.
Thai Diner
8055 W Broad St.
Thai Flavor
4024 D Cox Road Glen Allen
Thai Gourmet
9955-F Kings Charter Drive Ashland


6004 W Broad St. Henrico
Pho 95
1601 Willow Lawn Drive


618 N 1st St.
Barrel Thief
5805 Patterson Ave.
Highlights: add on charcuterie boards
13 W Broad St.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Heart Work

Sugar Shack and Luther Burger give out free meals during pandemic.

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 10:44 AM

Generosity is nothing new to Ian Kelly. 

The Sugar Shack and Luther Burger founder says for the seven years his business has been around, it’s always looked for opportunities to help. “I don’t see the free meals ending any time soon.”

The combo doughnut and burger joint on Huguenot Road has been giving out meals, free of charge, to anyone who shows up and inquires between the hours of 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. 

The weekend of March 20-22 Kelly says eight employees came in and they were able to prep 5,000 burgers in advance of the customer rush. “That was fantastic, at the end of the night, so many people had come through,” Kelly says. 

While the restaurant recently dedicated a day of free food for first responders and nurses, Kelly says the program is particularly focused on out-of-school kids. He says he’s trying to figure out how to safely and efficiently get the free meals to low-income areas where a lot of kids live. Until then, no need to call ahead. Just show up. 

For those who can afford to pay for their meal, please do. People can also donate to the cause online (lutherburger.square.site) so that the restaurant can continue its free food program. And yes, it now has vegan options too.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Accentuate the Positive

Some good food news to get you through the next few days.

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 2020 at 2:18 PM

As humans the world over continue to grapple with a new normal, restaurants, coffee shops and markets are doing their best to survive. In turn, they’re keeping us sane, and adding a bit of levity to the dire day-to-day.

From community-supported agriculture to cocktail kits, here are some bits of good news:

Coffee shop Pulp Fiction is holding a Cleanse for a Cause. It’s worked with Rudy’s Mushrooms to create immunity-supporting juices, with proceeds benefiting Richmond Restaurants United. Juice orders can be placed online.

Charles City-based Amy’s Organic Garden has reopened its CSA program, which typically runs from May to August. Email amy@amysorganicgarden.com for details, and look out for an online ordering system from the certified organic farm.

Seven Hills Food has got the meats. Starting Friday, March 27, it will be set up in Longoven’s parking lot from noon until it sells out. Place your order by emailing Bobby at bmaddox@sevenhillsfood.com. Meat prices will range from $60-$120 with higher end and value cuts available.

Reservoir Distillery is offering small amounts of free liquid hand sanitizer. The limit is 10 ounces per person. Bring your own bottle.

Cavalier Produce wants to help support local farms and industry — when you buy a box of produce and specialty foods you can opt to donate one to a restaurant industry worker.

We cannot emphasize enough that there are many area restaurants, coffee shops and markets offering take-away specials. You can pick up freshly baked croissants from Sub Rosa and bacon- and egg-topped burgers from Jack Brown’s (with cheap, fast delivery to boot). The Richmond Times-Dispatch has an updated, comprehensive list of what is on offer, but here are a few recent highlights:

Broken Tulip is offering quarts of “nourishing food for just $10 from pozole to sweet potato and chard daal curry. Each order comes with your choice or red rice or grits. It sold out of almost everything within a couple hours on Monday, but check back Thursday for new quart options and suggested wine pairings.

Piccola Italy Pizza and Subs is selling homemade dough in addition to calzones, pies, wine, cheesesteaks and wings. Give it a ring at 355-3111 and pick up from the takeout window or order delivery. A build-your-own-calzone should keep the little ones busy for at least five minutes.

Brenner Pass knows that grocery store shelves have been barren, so it’s offering a Market Menu in addition to rotating family meals. Orders can be placed starting at 2 p.m. Wednesday for pickup on Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. Options range from salad kits to house-made pasta and steaks.

The Roosevelt is selling its Seersucker for two cocktail mix, sans the booze. Add to your online dinner order, then mix in your own brown water at home.

Starr Hill has pickup and delivery brews and snacks. Staffers double bag your order, then a friendly, gloved hand passes it off. It just restocked on Tuesday, so you should be able to find all your fave brews.

Adarra is spreading natural wine love around the city. For $65, get three “organic/biodynamic/natural bottles of wine hand-selected by your friendly Adarra somms, brought to your door with descriptions and our contact info to keep the conversation going if you have any questions.” Each order gets one red, white and orange or rose. Order your vino for Thursday delivery by emailing info@restaurantadarra.com with name, phone number and address.

In addition to small plates and mains, Helen’s is also offering some do-it-yourself options. Order pancake mix with instructions and Michelada mix with a six-pack of Pacifico for an at home boozy brunch.

The Answer wants to take your mind off of dire news for a moment with its new double India pale ale.
"Heh Heh Heh Hrr Rrr Heh Heh Heh Heh Huh Rakau! Ha Hrr.” Eight percent alcohol should do the trick. Stop by from 2 to 7 p.m. Thursday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Order online from locally owned grocery Libbie Market. It’s quick, easy and workers bring your bags to your car, no contact involved. Say thanks! Last we checked, it even had paper towels.

Fancy Biscuit has been offering daily deals including half-off alcohol. On Wednesday spend $5 and get a free cake cup or mocha latte with your purchase. Check its social feeds for updated specials.

Kudzu is taking orders through Thursday at 6 p.m. for its first ramen kit pickup starting Friday.

Friday, March 20, 2020

The Helpers

How you can help your favorite restaurants, servers, bars, coffee shops and markets.

Posted By on Fri, Mar 20, 2020 at 5:35 PM

We’re two days into spring and while blue skies and warm temps belie the current state of the world, there’s always a silver lining.

Fred Rogers said look for the helpers, so here they are — and you can be one, too. Below find resources if you are currently out of work and in the food and beverage industry. And if you’re lucky enough to be a salaried worker taking conference calls at home, here’s how you can help your favorite restaurants, bars, coffee shops, markets and maybe even that one server who always remembers your name.

This list is being updated — are we missing a great resource? Email maryscottfletcher@gmail.com.

Donate to and support out-of-work food and bev folks here:

Richmond Restaurant Workers Relief Fund. Created by chef Brittanny Anderson of Brenner Pass, Chairlift and Metzger Bar and Butchery, this Gofundme aims to “help the most vulnerable” of workers who have recently lost their jobs due to COVID-19. It’s partnering with local nonprofit the Holli Fund to distribute the money raised “as quickly as possible” to area restaurant workers.

TONIGHT: Holli Fund Happy Hour.
Hang out with RVA personalities like Anderson, Christina Dick and Nikki-Dee Ray as they toast to a virtual happy hour. Text DONATE and the amount to 804-518-8333. You can sip alone together by following the hashtag #ServingOurServersRVA. Just imagine you’re seated at your favorite bar on a Friday night and tip accordingly, and if you’re a terrible tipper no time like the present to correct bad habits!

Other GoFundMe pages

RVA Hospitality

Eat Associate Relief Fund

Richmond Restaurant Group

R&L Hospitality Relief Fund

Use your voice and John Hancock

Sign the Save America’s Restaurants Petition The petition calls for engagement with local industry leaders and restaurant associations to outline a swift plan considering factors such as providing emergency employment benefits to hourly and salaried workers, waiving payroll tax, endorsing rent and loan abatement for workers, working with state liquor authorities, and waving zone and permit restrictions.

You can find contact information for your Virginia legislators here: virginiageneralassembly.gov. Sample scripts to read to your lawmaker can be found here: eater.com/2020/3/17/21184315/how-to-call-representatives-restaurants-bailout-relief-script.

Small business owners
Take this survey (vec.virginia.gov/node/11707) through Friday, March 27. The Virginia Employment Commission will collect this data and share the results with state and federal partners.

Chefs and restaurant leaders
Take this James Beard Foundation survey: surveymonkey.com/r/89C7L9B. The intent is to gather data so the foundation can “provide valuable information to legislators drafting emergency and longer-term legislation.”

If you are out of work and need assistance:

Apply for assistance from the Holli Fund
The Holli Fund offers $750 grants to people in the industry “who are experiencing an economic crisis such as loss of income due to illness, injury, death of an immediate family member, coronavirus restrictions or other emergency.” Checks are made out directly to the service provider for bills such rent, mortgage and utilities. These grants are not for medical expenses.

Check out Another Round Another Rally It’s offering $500 relief grants for hospitality workers.

Bartenders and spouses of bartenders
The United States Bartenders’ Guild is accepting applications for its bartender emergency assistance program: usbgfoundation.org/beap.

Apply for emergency relief from the Restaurant Worker Community Foundation: southernsmoke.org/smoke/application.

Those who can, cook. Those who can’t, order to-go:

Mayor Levar Stoney has relaxed parking regulations in the city so food can be picked up easily curbside by guests.

ABC has also released some guidance concerning the curbside pickup of libations. An ABC licensee can deliver wine and beer to a customer curbside if that person ordered the alcohol electronically and is parked on the retailer’s premises. A licensee with a delivery permit can also deliver to off-site locations.

Ale Wife
Chef Lee Gregory is posting daily menus on Instagram with options for one, two or four people plus dessert, wine and beer. It’s also adding 20% auto gratuity to the checks to help out its staff, which we love to see.

Barrel Thief
Shop your favorite bottles at a discount and have them delivered or pick them up yourself. For now it’s open from noon to 6 p.m. daily.

Billy Pie
Order wine by the bottle, pizza and cream puffs.

Boulevard Burger
Curbside burgers and shakes

Brenner Pass
Check out its Instagram for the daily family meal updates (main course, two sides and dessert for $60). It also has beer, wine and Haribo gummies.

Brenner Pass and Chairlift
Get three bottles of red, white or combo bottles for $40-$60.

Deep Run Roadhouse
Order online or over the phone; West End location is offering free delivery from in-house staff.

Dutch and Co.
Pre-order all the fixings for a gorgeous cheese plate online.

Fat Dragon
Order for delivery or pickup and get your growlers filled.

Fighting Fish
Curbside pickup or free delivery. Try the $15 lunch box.

Quick curbside pick up and ait’s having fun to boot. Look for pastrami, short rib and sausage this weekend.

Hop Craft RVA
Order hand-tossed pies and four-packs to-go.

Hot Chick
Beer, wine and hot chicken.

Izzy’s Kitchen
Pickup and delivery sandwiches.

Jack Browns RVA
Burgers, bottles, cans and fries.

Joe’s Inn
Pick up at Shield’s Market 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

From business boxed lunches to a la carte dinner items and booze, Perch has you covered.

Pizza and Beer
$10 crowlers and more

The Pitts
Dive-bar barbecue enjoyed in the comfort of your home.

Red Salt
Sushi on the fly with tips going to hourly associates.

Grab and go growlers and special curbside pick up menu with bivalves.

Takeout and curbside pick up daily noon to 10 p.m.

Southbound RVA
Offering daily takeout menus priced for two or four people

Daily food specials plus beer and wine.

Union Market
Sliders and soups to go.

Wild Ginger
Curbside and delivery — all tips and roundups go to staff.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Of Pie and Fear

A Proper Pie worker talks about what closings mean for restaurant workers and what you can do to help.

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 2020 at 2:48 PM

It happened so quickly. On Sunday, March 15, a woman picking up our last slice of coconut cream pie told me that she was delivering it to a friend in chemo treatment. “She said cancer can’t keep her from her cream pies!”

Another customer tipped $20 on a $24 order. He told us how much it meant to him and his family that Proper Pie Co. was still open.

But on Monday, March 16, I got a call that myself, along with all of my co-workers, were being laid off for the foreseeable future. The language was intentional: A layoff versus suspension, or pausing the business, made us eligible for unemployment.

From the outside, the restaurant industry can seem like an alternate world. A bunch of mostly 20-somethings existing in a space where a 2 a.m. bedtime is reasonable, smoking is the norm and savings are an anomaly. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked by family and friends when I’m planning to get a real job. But from my perspective, hospitality is one of the most real jobs I can get.

Patients freshly released from Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center would swing by, ID bracelets still on, to snag their first taste of freedom. We have pie-babies who have been raised coming into the shop since before they could walk, and regulars who barely need to speak before we are wrapping up their go-to.

Food brings people together, but in the wake of COVID-19 this has bewilderingly become a dangerous activity.

It started out as a typical work joke. We in hospitality are nothing if not hardy, and everyone needs food! There was no way this could touch us. The Big Bird meme of “we ride at dawn” went through various group chats as people chuckled. Our regulars, many of them health care workers, kept coming.

A few days later we introduced more strict sanitation practices. Wiping down all contact surfaces regularly, requesting customers swipe their own cards for payment and setting up a phone sanitation station by the clock-in computer. No more eating in the soup closet. No more phones but in our designated lockers. No more handshaking.

It was novel and I was still unbothered, but whispers began. One of our managers, a father who has worked at the shop virtually since the beginning, was concerned.

“I just hope that this doesn’t impact our business, but at this point it seems like that’s an inevitability,” he said. His daughter’s school had recently shut down, and he and his wife were already feeling the pressure of day care.

Saturday, March 14, National Pi Day, saw customers lined up around the block, spaced 3 feet apart. Friendly faces, big tips and lots of smiles, but something was hanging over us. More cancellations rolled in and our normally bright and joke-cracking crew was dim.

“I just signed that lease on my new apartment, but I may have to let that go. …”

“My mom is immuno-compromised and since I work around so many people it’s unsafe for her to be around me. She’s quarantined and I don’t know when I’m going to be able to see her again.”

“I don’t have any savings.”

You know how this ends. Out of love for our community and care for employees, Proper Pie has closed, along with many other restaurants and bars across Richmond. Within days, hundreds of people are suddenly unemployed, many living paycheck-to-paycheck and supporting families. Most of the people I know have filed for unemployment.

So where are your favorite servers, bartenders and chefs now? Honestly, not in a great place. We need your help.

Most of us are extroverts who have suddenly gone from interacting with hundreds of people a day to maybe two. I know several industry people who had been struggling with self-harm and suicidal thoughts and had been using work as a very effective escape. They are quarantined and left to fight their demons alone, and I’m worried.

I’ve seen calls to purchase restaurant gift cards, but as far as I know that money bypasses the busers, dishwashers, servers, hosts and others who make that restaurant hum.

Instead, consider takeout if you are comfortable with it. You’d better believe restaurants are taking extreme sanitation and distancing measures, and takeout employs staff that desperately needs income right now. Tip generously. For a comprehensive list of the restaurants offering takeout, check out this roundup from CBS-6: wtvr.com/news/local-news/these-richmond-restaurant-breweries-bakeries-and-coffee-shops-are-offering-curbside-pickup.

Follow your favorite restaurants on social media. Events are changing by the hour and that’s the best place to learn what would mean the most to them and how we can all help. For instance, on Friday, March 20, local nonprofit the Holli Fund is holding a virtual happy hour to raise money for out-of-work servers: instagram.com/p/B936osOFjhG.

Support Richmond Restaurants United – at richmondrestaurantsunited.com – is a group of local restaurant owners pushing our government for a stimulus package to help restaurant owners and employees, including an ongoing social distancing wage. If we can bail out car manufacturers and Wall Street, surely we can help our widespread hospitality industry.

Lastly, please reach out to friends or friends of friends who work in the hospitality or food industry. Maybe FaceTime while cooking dinner, or share some good gossip. We live to connect with others over food, and when you take that away the hit isn’t just financial.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Awards, expansions, Kahlos Taqueria & Bar and a new owner at Dairy Bar

Posted By on Mon, Mar 16, 2020 at 2:23 PM

It’s that time of year when the annual James Beard Award nominations honoring the best chefs, restaurants and food journalists are announced. For the fourth year, brother and sister bakers Evin and Evrim Dogu of Church Hill’s Sub Rosa Bakery got a semifinalist nomination for outstanding baker. After being recognized for the first time last year, Sunny Baweja joins Washington chefs Amy Brandwein of Centrolina and Jon Sybert of Tail Up Goat with a nomination for best chef, mid-Atlantic. As of April, Baweja will celebrate 10 years as chef and owner of Lehja, considered one of the finest Indian restaurants in the country, not just Virginia. Fans of Sub Rosa and Lehja will have to be patient, though, because the finalists aren’t announced until March 25 at 9 a.m., with the awards gala slated for May.

Eat Restaurant Partners, never one to pass up an opportunity to expand its empire, have scooped up the building that used to house Aloi. The group that brought Richmond Fat Dragon, Boulevard Burger and Brews, Wong Gonzalez, Foo Dog and eight others is looking to improve Scott’s Addition’s sushi game with Lucky AF, an Asian fusion restaurant. Eat’s president, Chris Tsui, has said that the group has been wanting to do sushi in Scott’s Addition for years now but hadn’t found just the right spot. Like the group’s other holdings, you can expect Lucky AF to offer a casual, late night vibe. Look for a late spring or early summer opening.

Farther east, Union Hill is getting a new eatery, Kahlos Taqueria & Bar, located on the ground floor of the 23rd Street Triangle building and due to open by the end of the month. Kahlos comes to Richmond courtesy of a Charlottesville family that owned restaurants there. Iliana White and her husband Brandon will manage and build out the space, her sister will tend bar and her mother, Morena Arevalo, will take on chef duties, making tortillas in-house daily. Just don’t expect an Americanized take on Mexican decor with sombreros and serapes. White is going for a more modern, industrial vibe inspired by Kahlo’s hometown of Coyoacan, Mexico. The good news for Richmond’s patio-obsessed is that Kahlos will have a 700-square-foot outdoor space that will allow it to seat around 70 people between the dining room and patio.

You’re very Richmond if … you have fond memories of eating at the Dairy Bar long before most of the city’s residents had any clue where Scott’s Addition was. After 23 years, Dairy Bar owners Bill and Patricia Webb were ready to retire and sold the venerable building where countless breakfasts, lunches and ice cream sundaes have been enjoyed since 1946. Buying the business is someone who should know a little about running it: longtime employee Corey Martin, who isn’t looking to shake things up radically. Under consideration is an expansion of the menu and maybe, just maybe, adding dinner hours somewhere down the road. But for now, Richmond can rest assured that the best milkshakes in town aren’t going anywhere because neither is the Dairy Bar.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Ruby Scoops Bringing Ice Cream Love to Brookland Park

Posted By on Mon, Mar 9, 2020 at 12:51 PM

After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2010 with a degree in business marketing, Rabia Kamara began her ice cream odyssey while studying culinary arts at L’Academie de Cuisine in 2011. When she started her career as a pastry chef in 2013, it afforded her the chance to make ice cream on a more regular basis.

It was then that she fell more in love with the whole process.

“One night during service I peeked out at table and saw two young sisters get into a tiff about some vanilla ice cream their parents ordered,” she recalls. “It reminded me of how many memories I had around frozen treats with my own sisters and in my life altogether, and I knew then that I wanted to continue making ice cream for as long as I could.”

But she wanted to do it through her own business.

After moving to Washington, Kamara turned out Ruby Scoops ice cream that was preservative-, additive- and hormone-free, made with local dairy, eggs and produce. With a winning formula, she began selling her ice cream at farmers markets, grocery stores and festivals like the National Cannabis Fest, Hardywood Heart & Soul Brewfest and the Soul Vegan Block Party.

Although she’d scouted possible Washington locations for a shop. Kamara always had a special place in her heart for Richmond. Given Washington lease prices, returning seemed like her best chance of growing the business. It became even clearer last summer when she met Emmett Wright, a chef at Helen’s, at a panel discussion. He had three things going for him: He lived here, he loved ice cream and creating flavors just as she did, and he was looking to get into the business. Kamara asked him to join as her partner in Ruby Scoops.

Next they needed a location. With the help of an agent, she scoured places all over Richmond for months. The building at 300 W. Brookland Park Blvd. was not only the last place they saw, but the only one her mind kept returning to.

“A big part of why I do this is to create memories for families and provide them with a quality treat they can enjoy during special time together,” she explains. When she’d attended VCU, she babysat for a family in North Side and fell in love with its neighborhood feel. “I see the change happening and what’s to come and we love that we can grow with other Brookland Park businesses being there.”

With plans to open in April, the goal is to serve 12 to 16 flavors, half vegetarian and half vegan. In addition to classic vanilla and chocolate, there’ll be mango sorbet and dulce de leche ice cream, both of which are already best sellers. But the focus will be on more seasonal, fun flavors such as strawberry and sweet red bean in spring, pistachio sage and apple cobbler in winter, and sweet corn and Old Bay caramel in summer. 

The first floor will house the kitchen area with a window to watch the magic happening and a counter where customers can sit and enjoy coffee, tea, milkshakes and house-made sodas. The second floor will be all seating to encourage people to sit and linger rather than feel rushed to grab a scoop and head out. Besides the ice cream and beverages, Ruby Scoops will serve cookies, made-to-order ice cream sandwiches, desserts and baked goods and flex its savory food muscles with sandwiches, salads and small plates.

As for the name Ruby Scoops, Kamara says it comes from the difficulty people have always had with her name. When she was younger, rather than correct them, she’d say her name was Ruby, which quickly became a nickname. She was committed to having “scoops” in the name so it would be obvious what the business sold.

“I’d try some other ideas in my head, but I just really liked the ring Ruby Scoops had to it,” she says. “Similar to how it went with choosing the storefront location, I just couldn’t get it out of my head.”

Monday, March 2, 2020

Ms. Bee’s Juice Bar Brings Healthy Options to Brookland Park

Posted By on Mon, Mar 2, 2020 at 1:28 PM

Brookland Park is not only an up-and-coming neighborhood, it’s also a food desert.

So when Brandi Battle-Brown decided to open a juice bar, it only made sense to do it in a neighborhood with increasing foot traffic and attention from the city.

Need hydration? Try the Ebony Island Hangover, a smoothie of apple, carrot, orange, beets and ginger. To get your mellow on, check out the Northside Trop, made with mango, pineapple and hemp powder. Nature’s Flu Shot — lemon, ginger, garlic and cayenne pepper — beats a needle any day.

Ms. Bee’s Juice Bar opened Jan. 25 and has already started to attract a steady stream of neighborhood regulars, like the two dads who are off every Friday and meet for lunch, then wile away the afternoon talking once they eat. Overall, Battle-Brown has seen a mixture of healthy eaters and those curious to learn more about the benefits of juicing. She keeps a nutritional facts book on the counter so that customers can learn more about the various add-ins — things such as chia and flax seeds, granola and probiotics — they can choose to customize their organic juices, wellness shots and smoothies. House-made soups and salads, including vegan seafood and tuna salad, round out the menu.

Because Battle-Brown has been a real-estate agent for years, she took note of the direction Brookland Park is headed.

“I wanted to be in an urban community and teach people how to choose a better way of eating and what the health benefits from it are,” she says of learning those lessons herself when she began juicing in 2018. “A lot of things are negotiable, but not your health. You only get one body.”

Entirely designed by its owner, the space is welcoming and light-filled with one exposed brick wall and the others a sunny yellow, with a mural done by Jason Ford of echinacea flowers and pollinators. A long counter holds baskets and bins of fruits like pineapple, oranges, bananas, kiwis, lemons and apples, ready to be juiced. Tables line the wall across from the counter, but it’s the two tables that sit in the front windows that quickly became customer favorites.

“On Saturdays, people will call to see if those tables are free because they want to come in and spend time in them,” she says.

Seated at one of them and looking out to the street reveals a procession of orange cones and street work going on. The city is building bump-out wells along Brookland Park Boulevard to slow traffic and make the area more hospitable to pedestrians. Given the uptick in interest in the neighborhood, Battle-Brown plans to plant a small garden in the well in front of her shop.

“In five years, this will be a baby Carytown,” she says with the assurance of a long-time real estate agent.

Meanwhile, customers continue to find the sunny juice bar and embrace its lessons. Laveta Hurt grew up in the neighborhood and when she comes to visit her parents, makes a point to stop at Ms. Bee’s for a smoothie.

“Even if it didn’t taste good, I know my body’s getting good things,” she says, sipping an Ebony Island Hangover. “But it does taste delicious!”

Ms. Bee’s Juice Bar is open Mondays – Fridays from 7 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Saturdays 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., 114 W. Brookland Park Blvd.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Richmond Black Restaurant Experience Returns

Posted By on Mon, Feb 24, 2020 at 3:08 PM

Although Richmond Restaurant Week was created in 2001 to celebrate the city’s diverse food scene while giving back to the community, it wasn’t until 2015 that Richmond Black Restaurant Week was created to add to that diversity.

Re-branded in 2016 to Richmond Black Restaurant Experience, the event is a celebratory week dedicated to supporting the city’s black-owned restaurants, food truck and cart operators, caterers and local chefs, while also promoting the region’s growing culinary-tourism scene.

“It aims to counter economic disparity within minority-owned businesses with fun and interactive solutions that engage, excite and ignite a deeper understanding and love of Richmond food culture,” explains co-organizer Shemicia Bowen. The goal is to create a unified week of experiences that, in part, builds community though collective marketing and economics.

Like Richmond Restaurant Week, Richmond Black Restaurant Experience donates part of the week’s profits to local nonprofits. In the past, it has given to Renew Richmond and the Food Justice Corridor. This year, the Urban League of Greater Richmond Young Professionals will be the recipient.

In addition to its philanthropic arm, Richmond Black Restaurant Experience also aims to increase revenue and patronage for the participating restaurants as a means of stimulating business growth.

“Many of our participants now have multiple locations,” says co-organizer Amy Wentz. “There’s Brewer’s Café and Brewer’s Waffle, Spoon Bread and Spoon Bread Deux and Soul Taco now has locations in Jackson Ward and Shockoe Bottom.” 
For those unclear about why Richmond needs both restaurant weeks, the organizers of Richmond Black Restaurant Experience see it as an opportunity to highlight the growing black–owned restaurants in the region.

“While Richmond is deemed a foodie town, we want to ensure these businesses are included in that narrative,” says co-organizer Kelli Lemon. Another difference is that Richmond Black Restaurant Experience isn’t just about food. The organizers have combined other elements — social, history, wellness, community and civic partnerships — to offer resources and address entrepreneurship and community wealth-building more holistically.

This year, Richmond Black Restaurant Experience takes place March 1-8 and, for the first time, a second week in the fall is also in the works. Mobile Soul Sunday kicks off the event March 1 from noon to 5 p.m. at Kanawha Plaza. The family-friendly event will offer more than 10 food trucks of all kinds — veggie, Southern soul, Caribbean, grill and smokehouse flavors — so guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets and have a picnic. There will also be a pop-up market, a kids’ zone and DJs playing music.

The final event, Stick a Fork in It, is held March 8 and is reminiscent of Broad Appétit The community is invited to check out local black-owned catering companies and chefs at the Altria Theatre from noon to 5 p.m. Small plates priced at $3-5 will be available, along with an artisan market, tasting contests and cooking demonstrations. Admission is free, but a paid VIP experience is available. In between the first and final events will be a film screening by Afrikana Film Festival at the Black History Museum and Art for the Soul, an evening of food, fashion, art, music and workshops at Studio Two Three. Information for all events can be found at the group’s website.

With 35 participants, eaters will have plenty of choices of old favorites and appetizing newcomers.

“We believe that important conversations can happen over food and this week exposes all of Richmond to the small gems throughout the city,” Bowen says.

“It truly is where culture meets cuisine.”

The Richmond Black Restaurant Experience runs March 1- 8. See virginiablackrestaurantexperience.com.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Barrio Taqueria & Tequila takes over the old Pearl Raw Bar space

Posted By on Mon, Feb 10, 2020 at 2:16 PM

What do Sammy Hagar, Nick Jonas and George Clooney have in common? Tequila company owners all. In Richmond, they are also represented in a tequila flight at Barrio, the latest eatery from the Richmond Restaurant Group.

The space that housed Pearl Raw Bar for six years has been replaced with Barrio Taqueria & Tequila and refreshed with a new look. Two glass-fronted garage doors replace the solid brick wall along Strawberry Street, filling the restaurant with light. Pearl’s tables have been refurbished and are now encircled with colorful metal chairs — yellow, blue, orange and red — and bar stools.

A colorful Ed Trask mural has been painted on the brick next to the bar, while a facing wall sports a mural advertising “Cerveza 5¢” executed by local muralist Caesar McGann. Both artists contributed to the images of agave plants throughout.

The back room has been converted into a lounge with the addition of a bar, love seats and cushy chairs and will be open Thursdays through Saturdays only until the restaurant is established. In addition to the private parties it’s known for, the upstairs room will see more dinner action nightly due to the loss of tables in the lounge.

Most striking of all, the kitchen is now enclosed in a vintage silver Airstream trailer, the interior of which had to be stripped down to the metal frame and cut into sections to fit into the limited space. Once fitted around the kitchen, it was riveted back together. Unexpectedly, the back end of the trailer shows up between the kitchen and the lounge.
The motivation for a shift in focus came from the limited size of the eatery’s nucleus.

“For such a big space, we’ve got a very small kitchen and dish room, so we wanted to do something easier for assembling food,” explains Richmond Restaurant Group co-owner Jared Golden. “This menu requires far fewer pans than Pearl did, making the space function much better.” On that menu are starters like tuna tostada and nachos, a dozen kinds of tacos including three vegetarian options, and a “not taco” section offering tortas, salad and burritos.

Golden says the cocktail list was built for speed, no surprise given how busy the place gets on Friday and Saturday nights when a DJ spins regularly. Eight of the dozen cocktails are tequila-based, including a soft-serve margarita made with the sorbet of the day, currently lime. Wine, beer and agua frescas provide options, including a reminder on the menu that you can add a spirit of your choice to any of the nonalcoholic beverages.

But it’s tequila that gets the starring role with more than 45 listed now and more to come. The tequila menu is broken down into blanco, aged less than 60 days, reposado, aged 60 days to a year, and anejo, which is aged one to three years in oak barrels. Five tequila flights, like the Celebrities on the Shelf flight already mentioned, are available with each one featuring a blanco, a reposado and an anejo.

Currently, Barrio is only serving dinner, with a Saturday and Sunday brunch tentatively scheduled to start Feb. 15.

“We’ll add lunch once we get fully staffed up,” Golden says.

Barrio Taqueria & Tequila
2229 W. Main St.

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